Frank Maxwell Andrews, 1884-1943

Frank Maxwell Andrews, 1884-1943


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Frank Maxwell Andrews, 1884-1943

Frank Maxwell Andrews (1884-1943) was a pioneer of strategic air power and a senior USAAF officer who served in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and briefly as commander of the European Theatre of Operations, US Army (ETOUSA) while Eisenhower was in North Africa.

Born in Nashville, Andrews attended West Point, gradating 42nd out of his class of 78 in 1906 before joining the cavalry. He entered the air service in 1917, but saw no action in France. Between the wars he became a record-setting long-distance pilot, before becoming Commanding Officer, Kelly Field Texas between 1923 and 1927.

In 1935 Andrews was appointed as the first command of General Headquarters Air Force at Langley Field. Until then control of Army aviation had been split between the Army Air Corps, under General Westover, which had responsibility for training, procurement and supply, and the individual corps areas, which had operational control of the aircraft. The new GHQ Air Force was given command of most of the Army's tactical units, with wings based at Langley, Barksdale and March (California). Andrews was promoted from Colonel to the temporary rank of Major General, so he held the same rank as Westover. The two branches reported to the Chief of Staff in peacetime, while GHQ Air Force came under the commanders of the relevant field forces during times of war.

Over the next four years the two branches of Army Aviation fought for supremacy, a fight that ended on 1 March 1939 with a victory for the Chief of the Air Staff, who was given authority over the GHQ Air Force (by this point Westover had been replaced by 'Hap' Arnold, who held the post throughout the Second World War).

Andrews was a support of strategic bombardment. In June 1937 he urged the War Department to only order four-engined bombers, on the grounds that enough twin-engined aircraft were already on order. In January 1938 he went one step further in a memo to the Secretary of War in which he suggested that the Army should only use heavy and light bombers. He was willing to admit that the Army and Navy both had claims on air support, but wanted to see the Air Corps develop its own independent striking ability.

Andrews fell out of favour for a short time during 1939. He was replaced as commander of GHQ Air Force and reduced to his permanent rank of brigadier general, but only for a few months. When George C. Marshall became acting Chief of Staff of the Army Andrews became his Assistant Chief of Staff G3 (Operations and Training), with the rank of major general. He was the first airman to be appointed to such a high post within the army.

In November 1940 Andrews was appointed to command the new Panama Air Force, which had responsibility for the defence of the Panama Canal. The Air Corps had quite sizable forces in the Caribbean area, but split into several different commands. This situation changed on 19 September 1941 when Andrews was appointed to command a new Caribbean Defense Command. Andrews was able to turn his scattered command into an integrated theatre air force which became a model for future commands. During this period he became known for his warnings about the danger to the United States if any hostile European air force gained bases in the land of FDR's 'Good Neighbours', a real threat after the German victories of 1940. In November 1941 his command produced a report in which the most likely threat to the area was seen as a Japanese carrier attack on the Panama Canal. Andrews believed that he had enough aircraft to defend against such an attack, but lacked the reconnaissance aircraft needed to spot any Carrier force in time. He also had to prepare for the possible need to defend any of the Latin American republics against an attack by Germany or Japan.

On 4 November 1942 Andrews took command of US Army Forces, Middle East (USAFIME), a post he held until 31 January 1943. This gave him command of all American forces in Egypt, the most important component of which was the Ninth Air Force, which was established on 12 November under General Brereton. One of Andrews' first tasks was to make contact with the Northwest Africa command, which was then involved in Operation Torch. Andrews' job required him to work closely with his British colleagues in Egypt, and by January 1943 he was reporting that the British commanders in chief had taken him into their complete confidence.

At the start of Operation Torch Eisenhower had been head of all American forces in Europe, but on 4 February 1943 his command was split in two with the formation of HQ, North African Theater of Operations, United States Army (NAFOUSA). Eisenhower took command in North Africa, while Andrews was appointed to succeed him as commander of the European Theatre of Operations, US Army (ETOUSA). This put Andrews in command of all American Army and Army Air Force units that had been left in Britain during Operation Torch, most importantly the Eighth Air Force.

Once he was in Britain Andrews urged the War Department to accelerate the growth of the Eighth Air Force as quickly as possible, so that 300 heavy bombers could be sent against targets on a regular basis. This would have required around 600 bombers, and was considered to be the smallest formation that could safely operate in the dangerous skies over Germany. Andrews also recognised the importance of long range fighter escort, and one of his first achievements was to convince the Eighth Air Force to order 60,000 200 gallon jettisonable fuel tanks from the United States. Eventually this order was cancelled in favour of using mass produced paper tanks make in the United Kingdom, but Andrews had made sure that the idea was accepted. He was also a support of using the Eighth Air Force at night when the occasion demanded, in order to allow the bombers to fly when daytime visibility wasn't good enough for operations.

Andrews died in an aircraft accident on Iceland on 3 May 1943 and was replaced as head of the European Theatre of Operations by Lt. General Jacob L. Devers.


Frank Maxwell Andrews

Frank Maxwell Andrews (February 3, 1884 – May 3, 1943) was a general officer in the United States Army and one of the founders of the United States Army Air Forces, which was later to become the United States Air Force. In leadership positions within the Army Air Corps, he succeeded in advancing progress toward a separate and independent Air Force where predecessors and allies such as Billy Mitchell had failed. Andrews was the first head of a centralized American air force and the first air officer to serve on the Army's general staff. In early 1943, he took the place of Dwight D. Eisenhower as commander of all U.S. troops in the European Theater of Operations. He was killed in an airplane accident during an inspection tour in Iceland, in 1943. He was the first of four lieutenant generals to die during the war, the others being Lesley J. McNair, Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. and Millard Harmon. Joint Base Andrews in Maryland (formerly Andrews Air Force Base) is named after him, as well as Andrews Barracks (a kaserne in Berlin, Germany), General Andrews Airport (demolished) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Andrews Avenue in Pasay City, Philippines.


Andrews, Frank Maxwell

Nashville native and 1906 West Point graduate Frank Andrews served in the U.S. Cavalry before transferring to Signal Corps aviation in 1917 as a major. Over the next sixteen years, he served in a wide variety Air Service and Air Corps staff and command positions, and graduated from the Air Corps Tactical School, the Command and General Staff School, and the Army War College, before taking command in June 1933 of the historic 1st Pursuit Group, one of nine Air Corps combat groups. In fall 1934, he was assigned to the War Department General Staff to develop the plan for the nation’s first “air force,” which would for the first time bring nationwide command of Air Corps combat units under an air officer. In December 1934, Army Chief of Staff Douglas MacArthur chose Andrews to command that prewar air force, earmarked for wartime alignment under the General Headquarters (GHQ) of Army Field Forces.

As commanding general of “GHQ Air Force” from 1935-39, he prepared the Army air arm for global war, which “Hap” Arnold characterized as “the first real step ever taken toward an independent United States Air Force.”

First airman on the War Department General Staff, directing operations and training Army-wide as assistant chief of staff, G-3, 1939-40.

Organized and led the Panama Canal Air Force, later Caribbean Air Force, 1940-41, and prototype for overseas numbered air forces.

He moved up in 1941 to head the new Caribbean Defense Command, the model for other overseas theater commands. As the first air officer to head a joint war-fighting command overseas, ensured effective coordination between air, ground, and naval forces.

As the U.S. Theater commander in the Middle East, 1942-43, he employed the new Ninth Air Force to help defeat General Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Corps. In December 1942, proposed European war strategy for the year 1943.

Became overall commander of the U.S. European Theater of Operations in February 1943 with the mission to revitalize the air campaign against Germany and oversee planning for the projected invasion of Europe.

Andrews was died May 3, 1943 in the crash of a B-24 Liberator along the Icelandic coast. Wartime Army Chief of Staff George C. Marshall called him one of the nation’s “few great captains.”

A founding father of the separate U.S. Air Force of 1947, whose birth he did not live to see. Andrews AFB, Md., named in his memory.

Andrews was born in Nashville, Tennessee on February 3rd, 1884 to James David Andrews, a newspaper publisher and real estate dealer, and Lulu Adaline (Maxwell) Andrews. Andrews attended public grade school in Nashville, and then at age 13, he entered the Montgomery Bell Academy, graduating in 1901. The following year he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York on July 31st, 1902. He graduated from the Academy on June 12th, 1906 and received his commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry. Shortly after his graduation from West Point, Andrews sailed for the Philippine Islands, where he began his first tour of duty with the Eighth Cavalry at Fort William McKinley in November 1906.

For the next eleven years, he served with the Cavalry, and these years of ground service profoundly influenced his subsequent military career. In April 1907, he returned to the U.S. and served at several of the legendary forts of the Cavalry. He was stationed at Fort Yellowstone in Wyoming until November 1908, at Fort Huachuca in Arizona until October 1910, and at Fort Myer in Virginia until November 1910. In January 1911, he arrived in Hawaii and began a three-year tour as aide to Brigadier General Macomb at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu. During this service, he was promoted to first lieutenant on November 12th, 1912. Relieved from this duty on June 30th, 1913, he returned to the U.S. and served with the 2nd Cavalry at Fort Bliss in Texas. Like many other cavalrymen, Andrews became an avid polo player. After being detailed to Ft. Ethan Allen in Vermont in December 1913, he met Jeanette Allen, the daughter of General Henry T. Allen. She not only liked horses and polo but she also played polo with Army teams. Even though General Allen reportedly said that no daughter of his would ever marry an aviator, Andrews became interested in flying during their courtship. He bided his time and won Jeanette’s hand. They married on March 18th, 1914 and later had three children: Josephine, Allen and Jean.

While Andrews was still serving at Ft. Ethan Allen, he received his promotion to captain on July 15th, 1916. After the U.S. entered World War I in April 1917, his interest in aviation blossomed. Following this new passion, he transferred to the Signal Corps on August 5th, 1917 with the newly-acquired temporary rank of major, and was assigned to the Aviation Division. After first attending the Field Artillery School of Fire at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Andrews reported for duty to the Air Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in Washington, D.C. in September 1917. While working for the Chief Signal Officer, Andrews had an opportunity to observe America’s first large-scale efforts to build up its airpower in accordance with the Aviation Act of 1917. Congress had appropriated $640 million in a belated effort to provide 5,000 warplanes, 4,500 trained pilots and 50,000 mechanics for the war effort by June 1918. However, Andrews quickly discovered that while the Chief Signal Officer was responsible for training and organization, he had no control over procurement and operations. As a result of these divided command responsibilities, the aeronautical goals were never fully achieved.

In April 1918, Andrews became commander of Rockwell Field on North Island off San Diego. There he finally earned his wings as a Junior Military Aviator in July 1918 at the relatively advanced age of 34. Subsequently, he commanded Carlstrom Field and Dorr Field at Arcadia in Florida. In October 1918, he became Supervisor of the Southeastern Air Service District with headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama. After World War I ended in November, 1918, Andrews returned to Washington, D.C. on March 21st, 1919, where he became Chief of the Inspection Division and a member of the Advisory Board in the Office of the Director of the Air Service. On March 29th, 1920, he was assigned to serve with the War Plans Division of the War Department’s general staff. During this tour, he reverted to his permanent rank of captain on April 3rd, 1920, but subsequently received a promotion to the permanent rank of major in the Regular Army on July 1st. On August 14th, 1920, Andrews departed for Germany to serve with the American Army of Occupation. There he first became Air Service Officer of the American Forces in Germany. In June 1922, he became Assistant to the Officer in Charge of Civil Affairs in the Headquarters of the American Forces at Coblentz, Germany.

Upon his return to the U.S. in February 1923, Andrews served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Service in Washington, D.C. and supervised the Training and War Plans Divisions. In June 1923, he became Executive Officer at Kelly Field at San Antonio, Texas. In July 1925, he became Assistant Commandant of Kelly, in command of the 10th School Group at the Air Service Advanced Flying School there. On June 30th, 1926, he became Commandant of the School. In September 1927, Andrews entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Langley Field in Virginia. Upon graduation in June 1928, he remained at Langley, where he served with the 2nd Wing Headquarters until July 16th, 1928. He then attended the Command and General Staff School at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. After graduation in June 1929, he was assigned to duty in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps in Washington, D.C. There he was promoted to lieutenant colonel on January 13th, 1930. He served in this office until August 15th, 1932, when he entered the Army War College in Washington, D.C. On October 10th, 1934, he returned to duty with the War Department general staff and served its Operations and Training Branch.

This was a very important period in his career for he participated in the reorganization of the Army Air Corps and in the planning for the establishment of the Army General Headquarters Air Force. This was a turning point for the Air Corps, for the GHQ Air Force within the Army was an operating air arm. He was named the Acting Commanding Officer of the GHQ Air Force until February 28th, 1935. Then on March 1st, 1935 he became its commanding general when he was received an appointment to the temporary rank of brigadier general, having been selected over 12 senior colonels and lieutenant colonels. He established the headquarters of the new independent strategic striking force at Langley Field in Virginia. As the first commander of the GHQ Air Force, Andrews was also the organizer of that command and he selected the most energetic of the airpower enthusiasts in uniform for his staff. They were dedicated and purposeful airmen who believed in developing the capabilities of large bombers and were willing to put up with the frustrations of their mission.

The new organization was the first American approach to independent air operations. By the creation of this new organization, the Army Air Corps escaped the scattered control of nine Corps Area commanders and concentrated under one head, making it a highly centralized combat unit. This was the recommendation of the famous Baker Board the year before. Theoretically, Andrews’s command was a concentrated striking force of all types of military aircraft. Before, the tactical units of the Air Corps had been scattered all over the U.S. under many general officers and no plans existed for this mass employment. Andrews welded these dispersed squadrons into small but efficient fighting forces of three wings: the Atlantic Wing based at headquarters at Langley Field in Virginia the Pacific Wing at Hamilton Field in California and the Southern Wing at Fort Crockett in Texas. Later this Southern Wing was moved to Barksdale Field in Louisiana. He trained this striking force to concentrate rapidly on various airfields along the vast perimeter of the continental U.S. At first, secret mass flights were conducted across the continent. In later maneuvers, bombardment aviation ranged far out to sea to intercept simulated enemy task forces. All of this brought questions from the press, but they found no sensationalism in the sober modesty of Andrews. He said, “We must realize that in common with the mobilization of the Air Force in this area, the ground arms of the Army would also be assembling, prepared to take a major role in repelling the enemy. I want to ask that you do not accuse us of trying to win a war alone.”

On December 26th, 1935, Andrews was promoted to the temporary rank of major general. For the next four years, he continuously studied how to improve the GHQ Air Force and how to make it a striking force that could be ordered to any point in the world for effective action. By this time he had become an ardent supporter of the big bomber. He also personally helped to demonstrate their utility on August 24th, 1935, when he piloted a Martin B-12 seaplane with 1,202.3 and 2,204.6 pound payloads to new 1,000 kilometer closed-course records. He also had a talent for flight in rain, storm, and fog and made hundreds of instrumental flights and landings to prove their practicality under such conditions. On June 29th, 1936, Andrews and Major John Whitely and their crew established an international airline distance record for amphibians by flying a Douglas YOA-5 amphibian powered by two Wright Cyclone 800 horsepower engines from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Langley Field, Virginia, a distance of 1,430 miles, which was officially recognized by the National Aeronautic Association and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

When urged to give up flying after this Andrews said, “I don’t want to be one of those generals who die in bed.” In April 1937, Andrews was rated as a command pilot and combat observer. By now he had become an ardent support of the new long-range, four-engine Boeing YB-17A Flying Fortress bomber, the first of which had been delivered to the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field on March 1st, 1937. On October 9th, 1937, he pleaded for more and bigger bombers and said, “Air attacks cannot be stopped by any means now known. The main reliance to defeat an enemy air force must be bombardment aviation directed against his bases and airplanes on the ground. The airpower of a nation is what is actually in the air today that which is on the drawing board—cannot become its airpower until five years from now, — too late for tomorrow’s employment.” Andrews was always eager to take advantage of any war game to give tactical training to his bombardment units. These were exercises with aircraft bombing land targets and then targets that Navy vessels towed. Andrews used every other opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of big bombers. One demonstration of the B-17’s capabilities came on February 27th, 1938 when six from the 2nd Bombardment Group, led by Colonel Robert Olds, made a 5,225 mile Goodwill Flight from Miami, Florida to Buenos Aires, Argentina with a stop en route at Lima, Peru. They then returned to Langley Field, Virginia. The first leg of the trip was the longest Air Corps mass flight to date and took 33-1/2 hours. The return flight took 33-3/4 hours. In August 1938, the first B-17 bomber, powered by four 1,000 horsepower engines went to the 2nd Bombardment Group. Later, one made history by flying from Langley Field to Chile in 29 hours 53 minutes carrying 3,250 pounds of medical supplies aboard for earthquake victims.

With war clouds darkening over Europe, Andrews fought very hard for a stronger American Air Force, particularly one fully equipped with heavy bombers. On January 16th, 1939, he told members of the National Aeronautic Association at their annual convention in St. Louis that the U.S. was a fifth or sixth rate air power. Though more tactful than his hero Billy Mitchell, he was also equally persistent and told a supposedly secret session of the House of Representatives “To ensure against air attacks being launched from any of these bases (in the Caribbean and in South America)—they must be kept under constant surveillance—and we must be ready to bomb such installations as they are discovered. If the situation is sufficiently vital to require it, we must be prepared to seize these outlying bases to prevent their development by the enemy as bases of operation against us.” This statement found its way into the press and Andrews was publicly censured by the President of the U.S. who said that these views were “not those of the White House or the nation.”

Five years later, such a statement would be viewed as one required by “Hemisphere Defense.” However, his endorsement of such a policy did not please most of the members of the Army General Staff, who still believed that Army aviation should be nothing more than “the eyes of the artillery.” Consequently, when his tour as commander of the GHQ Air Force ended in March 1939, Andrews reverted to his permanent rank of colonel and received orders to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas as Air Officer of the Eighth Corps Area. This was the same post to which his mentor, Colonel Billy Mitchell, had been exiled ten years before. Fortunately, Andrews had important friends who believed in him, his abilities, and the scope of his knowledge and the breadth of his experiences. He had previously taken General George C. Marshall on a tour of aircraft plants and the three bases of the GHQ Air Force and had succeeded in winning him over as a new ally for the cause of airpower. Consequently, when General Marshall was appointed as Chief of Staff of the Army, he selected Andrews to serve the War Department General Staff in Washington, D.C. as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations and Training (G-3). He also promoted him to the permanent rank of brigadier general in the regular army on July 1st, 1939.

He thus became the first airman to handle the Regular Army’s organization and training programs. Marshall’s choice was based on the knowledge that Andrews was not only a distinguished military aviator, but that he was also highly skilled in international relations. In addition, he was fully versed in the classic management of ground warfare, and the only American officer with experience in the command of a balanced and integrated air arm. In Andrews he saw the emergence of a new kind of Army leader in American History: one with knowledge of airpower at the command level and a depth of general staff experience. These were qualities not then common among ground or air officers. In October 1940, he received a promotion to the temporary rank of major general. After the outbreak of World War II in Europe in September 1939, the Panama Canal and the defense of the entire Caribbean area became a matter of great concern to the War Department.

Among the measures that the Department took to strengthen the defenses in this area was Andrews’s appointment by President Roosevelt as Commander of the Panamanian Air Force on November 14th, 1940. On September 19th, 1941, he assumed command of the Caribbean Defense Command and the Panama Canal Department and elevated to the rank of lieutenant general. As such, he was the first Army Air Corps officer to head a joint command and to hold a major Army Area command. In this position he was responsible for defending an area extending from his Canal Zone headquarters to Trinidad, and to Brazil and Ecuador. One of his greatest tasks was to insure effective coordination of Navy, Army, Air Corps and Latin American forces. He organized the Air Force of the Caribbean Defense Command on a theater-wide basis and divided into bomber, interceptor and service commands. His chief activity became anti-submarine warfare from the air. He also commanded anti-aircraft defenses, land-based infantry units, and essential Army engineer units at score of jungle bases. The Caribbean Defense Command was unique in that it possessed airborne forces on December 7th, 1941, the “Day of Infamy,” when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered World War II. In 1942, he received the Distinguished Service Medal with the following citation: “For exceptionally meritorious services to the Government in positions of great responsibility as commander of the Panama Canal Air Force from November 14th, 1940 to September 19th, 1941. His wide experience in the Army Air Forces enabled him to supervise and coordinate the numerous complicated factors involved in providing and maintaining air equipment and trained organizations available for combat operations.

Through intimate knowledge and by inspirational leadership, sound judgment and devotion to duty, General Andrews created a strong tactical air command vital to the security of the Panama Canal. As Commanding General, Caribbean Defense Command, from Sept. 20th, 1941, to November 9th, 1942, he rendered services to the Government of outstanding character.” Andrews also received the Distinguished Flying Cross in December 1942 with the following citation: “Frank M. Andrews, lieutenant general, U.S. Army. For extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flights in furtherance of the development and expansion program of the Army Air Forces.

Since November 1940, as Senior Air Officer and Commanding General of the Caribbean Defense Command, a position of great responsibility, he participated in numerous aerial flights throughout the area of his command in order to supervise personally the establishment of air bases and other defense installation therein. General Andrews, by frequent flights both day and night over water in all kinds of weather, and using airplanes available even though not always best suited for the mission, demonstrated to the flying personnel of his command the practicability of an effective air patrol over the extensive are for which he was responsible. By precept and example in important, difficult and often hazardous flying duties, General Andrews established an effective air patrol which has proven its effectiveness in operations against the enemy. His willingness to lead the way created for the air command under his jurisdiction, a spirit of confidence, loyalty and enthusiasm.

Shortly after the Allies invaded North Africa under Operation TORCH, Andrews was picked by President Roosevelt, General Marshall and General Henry “Hap” Arnold to become Commander of U.S. Forces in the Middle East. Five days later, he flew to Cairo, Egypt, where he established his command headquarters. There he gained experience in actual combat operations and in working with America’s allies. Under his skillful command, the U.S. Ninth Air Force played a vital part in the Allied offensive, carrying out with conspicuous success the bombing of enemy-held ports and other targets, and destroying numerous fighter aircraft. As a result, the British Eighth Army was able to drive Axis Power forces under the command of German General Rommel back from El Alamein on the Egyptian border and send them on a disastrous retreat toward Tunis.

Andrews also represented his command at the conferences between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill at Casablanca in January 1943, where it was decided to establish a European Theater of Operations as a prelude to the later invasion of Europe. When the combined British and American heavy bomber offensive against Germany was approved at Casablanca, General Marshall selected Andrews as Commanding General of the U.S. forces in the European theater of operations with headquarters in London. In this capacity, Andrews’ primary objective was to “increase and intensify the bombing of the enemy.” His outstanding knowledge of every phase of airpower was an invaluable asset to the Allies in the early stages of planning and executing the combined British and American “round-the-clock” bombing offensive against Germany. His base in England was soon described as “one long runway for daylight bomber attacks on Germany.” He also prodded the development of jettisonable fuel tanks to enable Allied fighters to penetrate deeper into Germany while escorting the heavy bombers.

In March 1943, Andrews and Major General Ira C. Eaker, commander of the Eighth Air Force in Britain, received the personal congratulations of Prime Minister Churchill after a successful American bombing raid on the German submarine yards at Vegesack. Andrews, one of the most promising Army Air Force leaders, lost his life in an airplane accident in Iceland on May 3rd, 1943, while on an inspection trip there from England. His plane crashed into a lonely point of land in a very dense fog while trying to find its way to Reykjavik, killing all 14 persons aboard. Of Andrews’ untimely death, Army Chief of Staff General Marshall said “…the loss to the nation of an outstanding soldier.” He also called Andrews “a great leader” and added that “no army produces more than a few great captains. General Andrews was undoubtedly one of these and we mourn his death.” General Andrews was awarded an oak leaf cluster for his Distinguished Service Medal, posthumously, in July 1943, with the following citation: “For exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a position of great responsibility. As Commanding General of the European Theater of Operations, General Andrews successfully met and solved many complex problems. His calm judgment, courage, resourcefulness and superior leadership have been an inspiration to the Armed Forces and of great value to his country.”


Frank Maxwell Andrews, 1884-1943 - History

Frank Maxwell Andrews was born on February 3, 1884. According to our records Tennessee was his home or enlistment state and Davidson County included within the archival record. We have Nashville listed as the city. He had enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. Served during World War II. Andrews had the rank of Lieutenant General. His military occupation or specialty was Commanding Officer, Pilot. Service number assignment was O-002144. Attached to United States Forces, European Command. During his service in World War II, Army Air Forces Lieutenant General Andrews experienced a critical situation which ultimately resulted in loss of life on May 3, 1943 . Recorded circumstances attributed to: DNB - Died Non-battle, Air Crash. Incident location: Mt Fagradalsfjall, Iceland.

Frank Maxwell Andrews was born in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He was the son of James David Andrews and Louisiana Adaline Maxwell. His mother had died in 1932 and his father in 1937. He was married to Jeannette Johnston Allen, they had several children, and lived in the District of Columbia.

He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1906. He served in the cavalry in the Philippines and then from 1907 to 1917 at various forts, mostly in the northwest US, until transferring to the Signal Corp.

He was commander of all United States Forces in Europe during the initial US involvement during World War II. In February 1943, while commander of the European Theater of Operations, he launched the air campaign against Germany. He has been referred to as the "Father of the Air Force".

He received 2 Distinguished Service Medals, a Distinguished Flying Cross, ten Air Medals, and the Purple Heart. Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland is named for him.

On May 3, 1943 he was a passenger on the B-24D Liberator #41-23728 "Hot Stuff" when they encountered bad weather during a transport flight to from Europe to Washington DC. They crashed into Mount Fagradalsfjall in Iceland after an aborted attempt to land at the Royal Air Force station at Kaldadarnes. Only one man, the tail gunner, survived.

"Hot Stuff" was the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete 25 missions in Europe in World War II. Lieutenant General Frank M Andrews, Commander of the European Theater, members of his staff and three chaplains were on this fatal final flight. A monument honoring the victims was unveiled near the crash site on May 3, 2018, 75 years after the crash.


The site

Access to the grounds of the German Federal Archives and the public buildings – such as the library in the former Andrews Chapel – is permitted, but it normally requires verbal permission at the gate. Just a few meters from the entrance, a temporary pavilion houses the exhibition “The New Building of the Federal Archives in Berlin – Located between Contradictory Contexts of German History,” which informs visitors on the past and future of the site and which is complemented by an online exhibition.

The sacred building to the left of the entrance was open to Americans of all faiths. Today it houses a special library belonging to the Archives of the Parties and Mass Organizations of the GDR in the German Federal Archives. It encompasses some 1.7 million volumes.

Outside the current grounds of the German Federal Archives is located a swimming pool that was built in 1937/38. In its day, it had been Berlin’s largest indoor pool. In 1971 the Americans renovated it and used it jointly with Berlin schools over the following years. Today the indoor pool is operated by the Berliner Baeder-Betriebe, the city’s swimming pool authority.


Frank Maxwell Andrews

"Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commander in Chief of U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, pinning the Silver Star on the chest of 2nd Lt. Theodore P. Deffner, Bombardier, of St. Louis, Mo. Preparing to release his bombs on a convoy in the Mediterranean, his aircraft was struck from fire by enemy fighter planes. The Co--pilot was seriously wounded and Lt Deffner was largely responsible for saving him from grave complications. He also manned a gun-post during the attack to help thwart further successful enemy action. The award was made on 11th Nov. 1942 at an advanced base somewhere in the Middle East."

General George C. Marshall said late in life that there was only one general he had been able to "prepare all around" for the supreme command of the invasion of Europe -- and his name was not Ike.

Frank Andrews had been preparing himself for that moment through more than three decades of Army service. But perhaps his greatest contribution to Allied victory happened during his term as commander of the Army's General Headquarters Air Force from 1935 to 1939. In that role, he advocated tirelessly, against the implacable opposition of the top brass, for the acquisition of heavy bombers to defend the country. He managed to keep the B-17 alive as an experimental aircraft so that it could be rolled into mass production once the country recognized that war was coming.

Andrews' advocacy for the B-17 earned him a demotion and exile in 1939, as his superiors sent him to occupy the same dilapidated office on a San Antonio base that his mentor Billy Mitchell had occupied at the time of his disgrace. But when General Marshall became chief of staff later in 1939, his first appointment was to make Andrews his G-3, head of operations and training. The outgoing chief of staff and War Department officials strenuously opposed the appointment, but Marshall threatened to reject his own appointment if thwarted.

Marshall later recalled that the appointment made Andrews "the first supervisor of the mobilization of the army, which involved about 176 new units." That job had put him "in close touch with the ground forces," Marshall said, and Andrews "did a splendid job" in the role.

When the war came to U.S. territory on December 7, 1941, Lieutenant General Andrews was in command of all U.S. military forces in and around the Panama Canal Zone, which was viewed as a likely target of attack.

In 1942 Andrews went to North Africa, where as commander of all United States' forces in the Middle East, he helped to defeat Rommel's Afrika Korps.

In February 1943 Andrews became the commander of all United States forces in the European Theatre of Operations. In his memoirs, Gen Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces in WWII, expressed the belief that Andrews would have been given the command of the Allied invasion of Europe -- the position that eventually went to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unfortunately, on May 3, 1943, the B-24 carrying Andrews on an inspection tour crashed while attempting to land at the Royal Air Force Base at Kaldadarnes, Iceland. Andrews and 13 others died in the crash, and only the tail gunner survived.

Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base), the airport of the president of the United States, is named in honor of Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews.

Lt. General Andrews was in the spring of 1943 US commander in the European Theatre of Operations it was rumoured that he was tipped for an even higher position. The 93rd BG Liberator 'Hot Stuff' - the very first USAAF bomber to complete 25 missions in Europe - was at the time scheduled to return to the USA to promote the sale of War Bonds.

General Andrews chose to fly to Iceland on 'Hot Stuff.' Many believe he had been summoned back to Washington by his boss, General Marshall, although the available evidence suggests he was just planning a quick visit with US forces in Iceland. Accordingly five members of 'Hot Stuff's' crew were offloaded and their places given to General Andrews and his staff. Needing to land in Iceland to refuel they encountered low cloud and snow showers and, following several aborted attempts, crashed into the side of a mountain. Of the fifteen men on board only one - the tail gunner - survived. A memorial to the 14 men who died there was unveiled near the site in May 2018, the 75th anniversary of the accident.


The Man Who Would Be Ike

The American president’s personal airport is named for him. Gen. George C. Marshall referred to him as the only potential commander of Operation Overlord that he “had a chance to prepare all around.” Yet when the B-24 bomber carrying Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell “Andy” Andrews crashed into the side of an Icelandic mountain in May 1943, his historical legacy perished as instantly as he did. In fact, no full biography of the namesake of Andrews Air Force Base has ever been published.

The man thus consigned to oblivion—59 years old when he died—once commanded such famed air warriors as H. H. “Hap” Arnold, Carl A. Spaatz, and James H. Doolittle. Before the war, he put his career on the line to champion a heavy bomber that army brass thought too expensive, the now-legendary B-17. From 1939 to 1940, he presided over America’s mobilization for World War II as assistant chief of staff for operations (G-3), becoming the first airman to serve on the General Staff. He held three theaterwide commands, with responsibility for all American land, air, and sea forces: the Caribbean, the Middle East, and then Europe.

Andrews took command of the European theater from Lt. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower after the Allies’ Casablanca Conference in January 1943, which he attended. While Ike led the campaign to drive Axis forces from North Africa, Andrews directed the strategic bombing campaign against the Germans and began the buildup for a widely anticipated cross-Channel invasion.

Clearly, Andrews would have played an important role in the Normandy invasion had he lived. Indeed, after the war, colleagues and family members of the fallen general suggested he might have ended up in command of D-Day and the warfare that followed. That question remains intriguing today, and it leads to another question, just as profound: Would the Great Crusade have taken a different course with Andrews in charge?

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Andrews graduated in 1906 from West Point, where he acquired a lifelong devotion to horsemanship. He would later ride and socialize at army polo events with George S. Patton Jr. and other future generals. In 1917, after eight years of cavalry service, Andrews decided he preferred a mightier steed. The following year, at the relatively advanced age of 34, he earned his wings at Rockwell Field near San Diego, California.

He rose steadily through the ranks of the army’s aviation force. In 1935, army chief of staff Gen. Douglas MacArthur chose him to lead a new combat command called the General Headquarters (GHQ) Air Force. Time magazine found the hire notable: “Not since [Theodore Roosevelt] jacked John Joseph Pershing from captain to brigadier general in 1906 had the Army seen so notable a promotion as that which promised last week to elevate Frank Andrews from lieutenant colonel to brigadier general. A onetime cavalryman, Col. Andrews is tough, fiftyish, handsome. Army wives call him the best-looking man in service, like to remember the romantic thrill he gave them in 1914 by taking his bride on a horseback honeymoon in Virginia.”

Andrews’s men remembered him as a pilot of consummate skill who would fly in any weather. In 1935, at the controls of a B-12, he broke three world speed records formerly held by Charles Lindbergh. Asked later whether he wasn’t tempting fate with all the time he spent aloft, Andrews replied, “I don’t want to be one of those generals who die in bed.”

Andrews used his command to push for more resources and greater autonomy for the army’s fliers, and recommended that Boeing’s new, long-range heavy bomber, the B-17, become the backbone of the air power program. In late 1935, newly appointed army chief of staff Gen. Malin Craig and secretary of war Harry H. Woodring overruled Andrews and canceled the B-17 order, reasoning that the army could buy twice as many lighter, shorter-range B-18 Bolos for the same price as the B-17s. Andrews’s bomber advocacy put him so at odds with his superiors that many expected him to retire when his appointment ended in 1939. He didn’t, and the army dispatched him to a minor position at a Texas base as he reverted to his permanent rank of colonel.

Andrews was not in the wilderness for long. He had made such a favorable impression on Marshall while at GHQ Air Force that Marshall, who succeeded Craig as chief of staff, chose him as his G-3 in the summer of 1939. Marshall later said he had refused to take up his appointment as chief of staff unless he could have Andrews.

Marshall went on to pluck Eisenhower, Patton, Spaatz, Mark Clark, and other officers from positions of lower seniority, grooming them as key commanders in the war that just about everyone in Washington knew was coming. But it was Andrews he reached for first.

As G-3, Andrews was in charge of the U.S. Army’s organization and training. In the 15 months he held that position, the army grew from fewer than 200,000 men to more than 600,000. In late May 1940, as Germany’s bold panzer tactics were playing a key role in the fall of France, Andrews convened a meeting of maneuver commanders that led to the creation of the first armored divisions in U.S. Army history.

In November 1940 Marshall moved Andrews to Panama, where he assumed overall command of the Caribbean theater and was charged with guarding the Panama Canal and other American interests against perceived threats from Germany and Japan. Two years later Marshall put Andrews in command of American forces in the Middle East. At his Cairo headquarters and on trips as far afield as Baghdad and Tehran, Andrews worked closely with civilian and military leaders from Britain and other Allied nations.

As he took up his London post in February 1943, Andrews told reporters his goals were to escalate the strategic bombing of German-held territory and “to prepare for the reception of the large U.S. forces who undoubtedly will be brought to the United Kingdom.”

Behind the scenes, he encountered frustrations in pursuing these aims. Troop strength in the European theater fell by nearly half from October 1942 to the end of April 1943, as men and aircraft were diverted to other theaters. Subduing North Africa took far longer and required many more troops than had been expected. The fight against Uboats was succeeding, but bomber forces were being diverted from the air campaign over Europe to escort convoys.

The story of Andrews’s brief tenure in London, then, is a story of great potential rather than major accomplishments. The events of May 3, 1943, would make that potential his legacy.

Andrews and his staff took off that morning for a brief inspection tour of American forces in Iceland. His B-24 was ordered to land at the base in Prestwick, Scotland, for a weather briefing instead it flew on, even after the crew was advised of the poor flying conditions over Iceland: overcast, with a ceiling of 800 feet, visibility one mile, and heavy icing likely at an altitude of only 1,000 feet.

Those who knew the general would differ in later years over whether he was piloting the aircraft as it reached the skies over Iceland. Whatever the case, after a low-altitude pass over an RAF airstrip, the plane did not respond to a beacon offering the all-clear to land. Soon thereafter, weaving through the low clouds in an apparent effort to find the main field at Reykjavik, it struck a rocky promontory. Only the tail gunner survived.

Given the progression of commands Marshall gave Andrews, and the fact that he was named to the London post at a time when Allied leaders still hoped to carry out a cross-Channel invasion in 1943, the question inevitably arises: Would Andrews have been the D-Day commander, had he lived?

In 1969 and 1970, historian Murray Green raised it with dozens of former army and air force generals. Fourteen said they believed Andrews had been destined to lead Operation Overlord. “He would have been the Eisenhower, at least, if not more,” Doolittle told Green. “He was a great man, of great breadth of concept, and he would have been one of the truly great leaders if he had survived.”

Marshall himself addressed that topic in interviews conducted by biographer Forrest C. Pogue in the mid-1950s. He observed that Andrews “had a real preparatory course” for the assignment. “He was the first one I was able, you might say, to graduate for his job through the various holdings,” Marshall said. When Pogue asked him directly whether he had intended to put Andrews in charge of the invasion, Marshall replied, “It hadn’t reached that point.” But he went on to recite the commands through which he had rotated Andrews, concluding that Andrews was the “only one I had a chance to prepare all around.”

The man interviewing Marshall came away unconvinced that the architect of American military strategy had intended to put Andrews in charge of the invasion. In Organizer of Victory, the third volume of his Marshall biography, Pogue dismisses that notion as a conceit floated by friends of Andrews. Friends and family did speculate after the war that the fateful “inspection trip” to Iceland had really been the first leg of a secret mission to Washington, where Andrews would be named the Overlord commander.

But all available evidence suggests otherwise. In fact, he died at about the same time Allied leaders realized they could not mount the invasion until 1944.

Between September and December of 1943, it appeared certain that Marshall himself would run the operation. Once various factors combined to rule out that option, Eisenhower was universally viewed as the logical choice, in part because, as Pogue notes, he had already worked closely with the British and had Marshall’s full confidence. Andrews would have met those two standards, and had the advantage of incumbency. It would have been a tough call.

And what if he had led the invasion? It is impossible to know for certain how he might have handled the decisions Ike faced on June 4, 5, and 6 the commencement and conduct of the invasion itself might have been much the same.

But Andrews showed himself to be much more of a risk-taker than Eisenhower, and command decisions in the months following might have been quite different.

Andrews might, for instance, have been more inclined to direct resources to his old friend Patton as he pushed toward Metz, Nancy, and the German border in August 1944. He might have let the Sixth Army Group cross the Rhine River after reaching it in late November, rather than halting the advance as Eisenhower did.

With Allied troops completely encircling massive German forces, the war might have ended by Christmas, sparing hundreds of thousands of lives.

Then again, a more aggressive push across the Rhine might have stretched forces and supply lines too thin, allowing the Germans to mount a successful counterattack.

And there could have been political trouble. Although Andrews was an artful diplomat, he harbored serious doubts about Churchill’s intentions. In April 1943, Andrews confided to his deputy theater commander, Maj. Gen. H. C. Ingles, that he had come to believe the British wanted to “shift the main effort to the Mediterranean area” and did not want Germany “destroyed.”

The clear inference was that Andrews thought Britain wanted to retain an armed German state as a buffer against Soviet expansionism in postwar Europe. If such episodes of mistrust had continued to bedevil Andrews’s relationships with the British during and after the D-Day invasion, the impact on the Allied war effort could have been disastrous.


Background

While researching an answer to this question asking why Eisenhower was chosen to be Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (more on that later this week in another question, by the way), I came across some interesting and inconsistent information about Lt. Gen. Frank Andrews flight which ended in his death in the crash in Iceland on May 3, 1943. Some sources (below) indicate the purpose of this flight was merely an inspection tour, while other sources (below) indicate Andrews had been summoned back to Washington D.C. to meet with Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, ostensibly to receive a promotion with his 4th star and to be given the position of Supreme Commander Allied Expeditionary Force (SCAEF), the position which then went to Eisenhower because of Andrews' untimely death.

Sources indicating the flight was merely an inspection tour:

Sources which indicate it was a flight back to the USA for an important meeting with the Chief of Staff:

Note:
I have found some additional potentially credible sources (looking for primary sources) which support the claim that Andrews (for whom Andrews AFB is named) was the original choice for SCAEF, not Eisenhower, which lends tangent or indirect support to the claim Andrews may have been on his way home for the appointment. (This is also controversial because I have also found other credible sources which either contradict this or neglect to mention it at all in the context of SCAEF and SHAEF topics. But this is worth another separate Question).


Frank Maxwell Andrews

"Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commander in Chief of U.S. Army Forces in the Middle East, pinning the Silver Star on the chest of 2nd Lt. Theodore P. Deffner, Bombardier, of St. Louis, Mo. Preparing to release his bombs on a convoy in the Mediterranean, his aircraft was struck from fire by enemy fighter planes. The Co--pilot was seriously wounded and Lt Deffner was largely responsible for saving him from grave complications. He also manned a gun-post during the attack to help thwart further successful enemy action. The award was made on 11th Nov. 1942 at an advanced base somewhere in the Middle East."

General George C. Marshall said late in life that there was only one general he had been able to "prepare all around" for the supreme command of the invasion of Europe -- and his name was not Ike.

Frank Andrews had been preparing himself for that moment through more than three decades of Army service. But perhaps his greatest contribution to Allied victory happened during his term as commander of the Army's General Headquarters Air Force from 1935 to 1939. In that role, he advocated tirelessly, against the implacable opposition of the top brass, for the acquisition of heavy bombers to defend the country. He managed to keep the B-17 alive as an experimental aircraft so that it could be rolled into mass production once the country recognized that war was coming.

Andrews' advocacy for the B-17 earned him a demotion and exile in 1939, as his superiors sent him to occupy the same dilapidated office on a San Antonio base that his mentor Billy Mitchell had occupied at the time of his disgrace. But when General Marshall became chief of staff later in 1939, his first appointment was to make Andrews his G-3, head of operations and training. The outgoing chief of staff and War Department officials strenuously opposed the appointment, but Marshall threatened to reject his own appointment if thwarted.

Marshall later recalled that the appointment made Andrews "the first supervisor of the mobilization of the army, which involved about 176 new units." That job had put him "in close touch with the ground forces," Marshall said, and Andrews "did a splendid job" in the role.

When the war came to U.S. territory on December 7, 1941, Lieutenant General Andrews was in command of all U.S. military forces in and around the Panama Canal Zone, which was viewed as a likely target of attack.

In 1942 Andrews went to North Africa, where as commander of all United States' forces in the Middle East, he helped to defeat Rommel's Afrika Korps.

In February 1943 Andrews became the commander of all United States forces in the European Theatre of Operations. In his memoirs, Gen Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the Army Air Forces in WWII, expressed the belief that Andrews would have been given the command of the Allied invasion of Europe -- the position that eventually went to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Unfortunately, on May 3, 1943, the B-24 carrying Andrews on an inspection tour crashed while attempting to land at the Royal Air Force Base at Kaldadarnes, Iceland. Andrews and 13 others died in the crash, and only the tail gunner survived.

Joint Base Andrews (formerly Andrews Air Force Base), the airport of the president of the United States, is named in honor of Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews.

Lt. General Andrews was in the spring of 1943 US commander in the European Theatre of Operations it was rumoured that he was tipped for an even higher position. The 93rd BG Liberator 'Hot Stuff' - the very first USAAF bomber to complete 25 missions in Europe - was at the time scheduled to return to the USA to promote the sale of War Bonds.

General Andrews chose to fly to Iceland on 'Hot Stuff.' Many believe he had been summoned back to Washington by his boss, General Marshall, although the available evidence suggests he was just planning a quick visit with US forces in Iceland. Accordingly five members of 'Hot Stuff's' crew were offloaded and their places given to General Andrews and his staff. Needing to land in Iceland to refuel they encountered low cloud and snow showers and, following several aborted attempts, crashed into the side of a mountain. Of the fifteen men on board only one - the tail gunner - survived. A memorial to the 14 men who died there was unveiled near the site in May 2018, the 75th anniversary of the accident.


Death and burial ground of Andrews, Frank Maxwell.

the copilot Frank Andrews, four additional crewmen and eight passengers were fatally injured. The only survivor was the tail gunner, S/Sgt. George Anthony Eisel of Columbus, Ohio, he escaped with only minor injuries. Eisel would still die young, age 54, on 25-02-1964

Frank Maxwell Anderson is buried with his wife Jeanette Allen, who died age 74 in 1962, on Arlington Cemetery, Virginia USA, Section 5-Grave 1885 . Close by in Section 5 the graves of the General, Provost Marshal, Headquarters, IX Corps, William Abendroth , Lieutenant General, Commander 3 rd Armoured Division, The 3 rd Armored Division, nickname “Spearhead” had 231 days of combat in World War II, with a total of 2.540 killed, 7.331 wounded, 95 missing, and 139 captured. Total battle and non-battle casualties came to 16.122, Frederick Brown , also buried here, Clifton Cates , Navy Admiral, Commander Tenth Naval District, John Hoover and Admiral USA Navy, US 7 th Fleet, Thomas Kinkaid . Also buried Major General, Commanding General of the Tenth Air Force, Clayton Lawrence Bissel .

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Watch the video: Lt. Gen. Frank Maxwell Andrews Inspects the 93rd BG at RAF Hardwick.


Comments:

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  3. Buckley

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